Short-Term River Run

By | September 14, 2017

Short-Term River Run is now complete. Capital Region Water switched back to treating water from the DeHart Reservoir on Tuesday, October 24. It will take 2-3 days for drinking water in the distribution system (underground pipes) to transition to water from DeHart Reservoir.

Photo of the DeHart Dam and Reservoir, Capital Region Water’s primary source of drinking water.

We’re lucky to have the pristine DeHart Reservoir as our main source of drinking water but we’re also lucky to have the infrastructure in place to treat water from the Susquehanna River if needed.

As part of Capital Region Water’s ongoing efforts to be proactive and ensure reliable service, Capital Region Water will begin temporarily pumping and treating water from its backup water supply, the Susquehanna River, beginning Tuesday, October 10 to ensure its reliability during a potential emergency.

This short-term run will last at least ten days before switching back to the DeHart Reservoir supply and all state and federal water quality standards will be met throughout its duration.

Although we expect very minimal impact to our customers, Capital Region Water feels that our customers deserve to know when we operate a short-term run of our backup water supply.

You can learn more about your water supply and quality in our latest Annual Water Quality Report.

Customer Impacts:

All state and federal water quality standards will be met during this short-term run. There will be no change in water pressure or the appearance of water. People with sensitive palates may experience a slightly different taste of their drinking water during this short-term run.

Signup to our email list to be notified about the short-term river run start date and more.

System Background:

Capital Region Water’s water treatment system is fully redundant meaning that it can treat water from either the DeHart Reservoir (primary source) or from the Susquehanna River (backup source). This redundant system was built in 1994 when the Dr. Robert E. Young Water Services Center was constructed. Capital Region Water treats about 8 million gallons of drinking water every day at the Water Services Center for customers in the City of Harrisburg and parts of Penbrook Borough, and Lower Paxton, Susquehanna, and Swatara Townships.

During this short-term run, Capital Region Water will make minor repairs to its main transmission line from DeHart Reservoir to ensure reliable service from its primary water source.

Learn more about our drinking water system with this educational video.

Short-Term River Run FAQs

Q: How will this impact my drinking water?

A: Capital Region Water’s top priority is protecting public health by providing safe, reliable drinking water. All state and federal water quality standards will be met during this short-term river run. Customers with a sensitive palate may notice a slightly different taste but there will be no changes to the appearance of the water or water pressure. Water treated from the Susquehanna River during this short-term run may be harder than water treated from the DeHart Reservoir. Harder water means more calcium carbonate, harmless, but could leave a white residue on dishes.

Q: Why is Capital Region Water switching to the Susquehanna River?

A: This short-term run is an industry best practice to ensure its reliability during a potential need to use this backup source. Capital Region Water will also be making minor repairs to the main transmission line from DeHart Reservoir during this short-term run.

Q: When will this short-term run occur?

A: This short-term run is scheduled for sometime in October and will last at least 10 days. Customers will be notified of the start date of the short-term run prior to it beginning (Signup to our email list). The short-term run will last at least 10 days or until repairs on the main transmission line are complete.

Q: How did Capital Region Water prepare for this short-term run?

A: Equipment to pump and treat water from the Susquehanna River is always maintained to be used at any time. Prior to the short-term run, Capital Region Water has increased testing of water from the Susquehanna River and has conducted lab-based treatment tests, called “jar tests”, to confirm the treatment parameters for water from the Susquehanna River. The Department of Environmental Protection, the public agency that oversees public water suppliers, has been notified and consulted prior to this short-term river run.

Q: Why is Capital Region Water conducting this river run now?

A: This short-term river run was scheduled for October to not interfere with recently completed and upcoming facility improvement projects and because customers will notice less of a taste difference with cooler water. Capital Region Water also consulted with a few major customers to properly time the short-term run.

Q: What if my water is discolored?

A: As always, call Capital Region Water if you experience discolored water at 888-510-0606. Discolored water may indicate a water main break somewhere in the system. Capital Region Water does not expect any water discoloration to occur because of the short-term river run.

Q: What if my water is cloudy?

A: It’s possible that the short-term river run may cause your water to be temporarily cloudy. If you have cloudy water, run cold water from your faucet for a few minutes. If the problem persists, contact Capital Region Water at 888-510-0606.

Q: Does pumping and treating water from the Susquehanna River cost more or less than treating water from the DeHart Reservoir?

A: Treating water from the Susquehanna River costs more because it requires increased electricity usage to pump water from the River, additional chemicals during the treatment process, and additional process water to backwash filters more frequently. Water from the DeHart Reservoir travels to Harrisburg by gravity and requires no pumping, and its high quality requires less treatment.

Q: What are the repairs that Capital Region Water is making on the main transmission line?

A: The main transmission line is the 42-inch diameter pipe, installed in 1940, that brings water from the DeHart Reservoir to Harrisburg. Capital Region Water inspected the pipe in 2015 – the first inspection on record. During the short-term river run, Capital Region Water will be replacing a 6-inch bypass valve and repairing leaks identified by that inspection.